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Comment: Re:If Netflix is in Canada, why isn't Hulu? (Score 2) 259

by Hackysack (#46846837) Attached to: Hulu Blocks VPN Users

I'm in Canada, and I don't use Hulu.

The point though, is that for people wanting to pay for the content they consume, there needs to be options.

If you don't allow me a timely (ie: available at the same time as the earliest showing somewhere else in the world), reasonably priced (ie: charge me for the show, not for a base tier + advanced tier + channel subscription costs), high quality (1080p) steam that I can pay for; then I will just torrent or otherwise pirate said content.

Personally I wouldn't ever do Hulu as I understand that they show advertising to paying subscribers. I refuse to support advertising.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Interesting) 578

by Hackysack (#46190823) Attached to: US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

No one is owed "free" content. When you've laced your content in ads however, it's no longer technically free. I have to pay a toll of time.

Sure NBC can buy the rights and then restrict the delivery any way they deem fit.

However, the bigger point is, why is it easier to acquire the content surreptitiously than it is to gain lawful access to it? I'm a cord cutter, I don't pay for cable because I don't ever watch it, and I don't want to subsidize the constant creation of crap programming it carries. I shouldn't have to subscribe to basic cable to be an additional set of eyeballs for the one piece of easily streamable content I want in a month.

That said, I don't have to. I'm in Canada, and all the olympic coverage is available online. I'd suggest the submitter find a proxy and go from there.

Comment: Re:Good Question (Score 1) 655

by Hackysack (#44426957) Attached to: What's Stopping Us From Eating Insects?

That article is poor and slanted, there were a bunch of them all appearing at the same time last winter.
Bad -
CBC - http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/17/business-quinoa-prices.html
Globe - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/the-more-you-love-quinoa-the-more-you-hurt-peruvians-and-bolivians/article7409637/

Better -
A better more balanced series of articles appeared a couple months later, for example: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.html?_r=0
or http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2013/01/quinoa_bad_for_bolivian_and_peruvian_farmers_ignore_the_media_hand_wringing.html which appeared

Comment: Re:so why not set up shop elsewhere? (Score 1) 293

>>>> Someone on $20k a year will be spending essentially all their income; someone on $200k a year is much less likely to be.

Provide rebates for people who make $whateverAmount. It also encourages tax filing, which is always good. In Canada, if you make less than a certain amount, the government will send you cheques quarterly for what your GST expenses would be.

VAT Taxes are a good, useful tax, but they should not be the only tax. Income taxes are better at targeting high value targets with more appropriate tax rates, but they're ass backwards in that they target the generation of income, which the government always wants to encourage.

What we most need across most of the west is a better way to prevent money from pooling the way it does into the pockets of certain individuals and corporations; or to pull it out of those pools when it does. Each dollar or euro or peso or whatever is a little bit like matter, they create wells which attract similar objects. When you have 0 dollars it's very difficult to get more, when you have $10,000,000, it's very easy to get more. Money forms pools, it's the government's job to break up these pools and keep the money flowing.

VAT taxes tax the flow of money, which is ok in small amounts, but shouldn't be used in large amounts.

Comment: Teh hell (Score 1, Insightful) 625

by Hackysack (#43552863) Attached to: 3D-Printed Gun May Be Unveiled Soon

How is this, in any sense of a safe, sane, rational world; a good thing?

I love building, creating, discovering. The first thing that the ability to self-produce a meaningful firearm, should produce though is a limitation on the right to do so.

No one needs the ability to exercise lethal force, much less the ability to casually produce the tools that do so.

Comment: From an (ex) gaming site operator (Score 2) 978

by Hackysack (#43141223) Attached to: Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads

We've seen this all happen before.

Back in 1999, I co-founded allakhazam.com A gaming database site which was specific to one game, and eventually grew to cover others. We witnessed the complete collapse of the online ad industry in 2000/2001, and as a result we worked very hard at establishing alternative monetization strategies. It worked, it worked very well, and in 2006 we sold the company doing very well as a result.

I then spent 3 years arguing against focusing on an Ad-focused revenue model, and renewed focus on the user experience.

Ad focused revenue models on websites are lazy, and very very broken. With a couple minor exceptions, most people are not swayed by the presentation of random imagery on the sides of the page they're trying to look at. Tech savy users either block the ads in the browser or they are just used to the ads and block them out internally. Most sites use 3rd party ad networks to sell the ads they're going to display, and as a result we get useless context-free ads displaying at the wrong time in a users day. Ads for Hyundai cars are pretty useless to someone reading a video game review for example.

Furthermore, having an ad-focused revenue model means that your customers are not your users. Your customers are now the ad networks or your directly sold advertisement. Your users are just a means to getting your customers to pay you more, and as a result the users often find that their user experience degrades. From articles which take multiple clicks across many pages, to invasive and irritating advertising, to vending of the users browsing habits, negatively impacting the user experience results in dollars for the operator.

Switching to a subscription model allows you to focus on developing content for the users as your customers. You no longer need to have the dichotomy of negatively impacting your users for money. Now you want to please them with a positive user experience, good compelling features and content. Good content is hard though. There are 10001 bloggers out there willing to write content for nearly nothing to free. So you can't assume that putting up a couple articles a week is going to be enough reasoning to get people to subscribe. Also many sites over value the value of a subscription. Make it small and I might be interested ($3/month), if you're going to charge me $20/month you're probably not going to get my money at all.

Subscription revenue is rewarding though. We had 50,000 subscribers paying us $3/month. We strove to constantly add features to the subscribed users. Ad revenue wasn't even a shade of that, despite doing over (at that time) 5 million uniques / day.

Comment: Re:I'm doing my part, are you? (Score 1) 312

by Hackysack (#40264199) Attached to: Game of Thrones The Most Pirated TV Show of the Season

I do do my part.

I bought cable and HBO for the 2 months it was on.

Last monday, I canceled cable, because it was over.

I also download it every week, but I don't believe that I count amoung pirates as I have paid to watch it.

They should allow digital streaming (in 1080) the moment it airs for $price/episode tho.

Comment: Wasn't it obvious? (Score 4, Insightful) 215

by Hackysack (#40115463) Attached to: Dark Days Ahead For Facebook and Google?

Simple grade 3 math explained why the shares went down. It's hard to justify that kind of multiple of earnings. Their income growth rate makes it unlikely it'll ever sustain that kind of value. It's got nothing to do with generational shifts to mobile.

Facebook is different than Google, very different. Facebook is one well developed web app, with remarkable popularity. Google is founded on the strengths of their search engine. Search is key, search is where you start. Search means you're looking for something, and susceptible to being introduced to something else that you might not have been looking for. Facebook is a tool, an application. Ads in applications diminish my experience with my application, ads in my tools make me not use said tool.

Comment: Me, Me, I am! (Score 1) 1004

by Hackysack (#40061483) Attached to: Who's Pirating Game of Thrones, and Why?

Tho I feel I'm not actually pirating it.

I paid for the Cable Subscription required to get access to HD HBO for the period of Game of Thrones.

I like the show and want to pay for it, I want them to make more of it.

I also download it every week to archive a copy, because it's less hassle than pulling it off my PVR.

It bugs me that AMC also gets money for my liking Game of Thrones, and that HBO gets money for other crap from my liking Game of Thrones. I don't want gritty political dramas, I don't want witty comedies; I want good Fantasy and good Sci Fi. I will pay for it.

I hope everyone out there that only downloads it, finds a way to contribute to the economic success of the project; to encourage it to keep going. Rather than the way of Rome.

Comment: It's not piracy (Score 4, Interesting) 311

by Hackysack (#39423955) Attached to: The Numbers Behind the Copyright Math

There is a fundamental shift in the underlying business models. (Thank goodness)

a) No longer is the only source of getting a song, buying an album. Now, if you like a song, you buy the song for 1.29, rather than the album for $20 from HMV or wherever.
b) Social media and word of mouth trumps advertising and corporate presentation. It's much harder to convince your audience to spend the $20 for the album with 1 mediocre song, and it's much easier for your audience to talk amongst them selves and realize that the album isn't worth it.

c) Thanks to the digital age, the industry is shrinking. Same for newspapers.

A large portion of the size of the industry was the overhead necessary to distribute physical media. I'm not sure what %, but I'm certain it was significant. This business value is gone and/or going now. What you're left with is the value of the purely creative side, some marketing, some overhead.

If the value of a newspaper in 1990 was $100M, and $60M of that could be attributed to the capital & overhead required to actually produce and deliver the newspaper; now it's 2012, and after inflation the same company finds itself worth $40M because they've lost the need to maintain the infrastructure to do the physical delivery. The same is true for Music (tho not yet for movies, although coming) A very large portion of the value of a music distribution company was the distribution part. That's gone now, thank goodness.

We just need the industry to adapt to the new mode where creation is harder than delivery, because right now I feel like we're not being served well by record company A&R.

But that's just me

Comment: Re:Google! (Score 1) 214

by Hackysack (#37659484) Attached to: I'd like to see Yahoo ...

Because MS has done such a good job of all their online offerings to date?

I'm afraid that MS grabbing yahoo would mean the death of yahoo. Mind you, I haven't used yahoo in any meaningful way really ever. The internet, and the world are better off with Yahoo being Yahoo. We need more companies driving the internet, not less.

MS buying yahoo would be a bad call for MS as well. They don't need to spend more billions down a path of online presence than they're already haemorrhaging billions down, MS needs to dramatically re-think it's commitment to the interconnected world or face their own crisis eventually; but that's another story...

Comment: Just gotta keep trying (Score 1) 252

by Hackysack (#37277274) Attached to: I have started Q businesses, where Q = ...

First business (independent ISP in 1996) didn't go so well, but cashed out for what I put in. Later on it failed and some people lost money.
Second business (Internet Consulting) also didn't go so well, belly up in 1998
Third business sold for $10M in 2006.
Starting fourth company now. Hope to sell it in 3 to 4 years, once the viability of the business plan is proven.

If you have an idea, DO IT!!! Manage your risk exposure appropriately, but really - you can always start small. Just DO IT.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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